Stephen King Calls 'Em As He Sees 'Em
There's been a lot of hoopla on the 'net over reports that in an upcoming interview for USA Weekend, Stephen King spoke his mind (gasp!) to writer Lorrie Lynch in her "Who's News" celeb column. And by speaking his mind, I mean saying that he thinks certain popular writers, chief among them Stephanie Meyer of Twilight fame and James Patterson are lousy writers. Very popular, but crummy in the craft department.
So which popular authors does King think are terrific? Jodi Piccoult was mentioned, along with J.K. Rowling, and King feels Dean Koontz "can write like hell. And then sometimes he’s just awful. It varies."
A lot of people on the 'net are frothing at the mouth that Mr. Stephen has broken some sort of unwritten "code of silence," where authors don't indulge in public put-downs of other authors. What do I think about this interview and the resulting controversy?
I think it's great because it gets people talking about authors, writing quality, and storytelling. If folks are arguing the merits of their favorite writer, they're probably also reading and forming opinions of their own. Huzzah!
As for my personal opinions, let me just say there are authors who are craftspersons, author who are what I call "natural storytellers" (not necessarily great writers but still suck readers right in), and a small minority who combine the best of both worlds. And then there are authors who (at least with some efforts) strike out on both counts. As for who's who and which type or individual is your favorite, I'll leave that to you to sort out, as long as you're actually reading books and not simply parroting someone else's opinion. :) And as for my personal takes on each of these authors, I'll tell you -- but only in a one-on-one conversation over margaritas. (Warning: By the time I hit bottom on the first margarita, I won't actually recall the names of any other authors.)
For now, however, let me pose a couple of questions. First, do you think King was right to publicly criticize other bestselling authors? Also, to your way of thinking, which authors are outstanding at consistently combining great writing skills with page-turning storytelling? Some of my favorites (Harlan Coben is one example) work in this exciting intersection, and I'm always eager to find more.